Aug 07, 2010 News
… International Building Expo kicks off
By Leonard Gildarie
Yesterday, President Jagdeo, in his feature address to a large gathering at the first-ever International Building Expo at the National Stadium, Providence, noted that the event is much more than an exhibition of services and products, but rather, it is about the fulfillment of the dreams of many who are yet to own their homes.
Noting that there was a time when Guyana’s economy was constricted, the President was of the opinion that people are now dreaming again and there are opportunities for individuals to create their own wealth by owing their properties.
Very soon, to add more value, government will be ensuring within the next three years, that 90,000 families have access to the internet and computers. It is all part of government’s policies to ensure the Guyanese people accumulate wealth, he said.
The President also criticised some companies which attempt to add too high of a profit margin.
Explaining, the Head of State stated that for too long, contractors have been using the traditional methods of building without attempting to explore new ways and new materials.
Construction companies and suppliers may now have to play a greater role in changing this mentality, the President urged, targeting training and cost-effective materials as the way to go.
Turning his attention to the construction supplies manufacturers, Jagdeo was also critical and challenged them to form partnerships as a means to ramp up production.
The President pointed out that while expos and shows will attract many, the intentions are to attract markets, especially from overseas. However, the problem is that there is not enough in terms of quantities being produced. As such, there is an urgent need to set the sights higher.
Jagdeo also called for a new attitude, making direct references to many homeowners who fail to keep their lawns clean.
Meanwhile, it was disclosed that a local engineering company is moving to introduce pre-cast concrete walls that will speed-up the construction time of homes and help reduce costs.
The entity, Dipcon Engineering Services, was among 100-plus exhibitors at the event.
The prefab concrete project was among several of the highlights of the expo which include Trowel Tex, a new kind of house finishing from Unicom, and a host of the latest and cheapest house furnishing made in Guyana and from overseas. Also introduced were new kinds of pavement bricks. Several countries, including China, Trinidad and India were represented.
Also among the eye-catchers was a model of a government-sponsored $1.2M “Core House” which 400 poor families across the country will be benefitting from. According to officials of the Housing Ministry, successful applicants will only be required to put down $100,000, as part of their contributions.
Another noteworthy display was the replica of a three-bedroom house built by Buddy’s Housing Development, which attracted many.
A huge montage of large buildings across Guyana lined the western fence of the stadium.
In a packed programme, which saw the attendance of President Jagdeo, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, several bankers and representatives of several construction companies, representatives of the Housing Ministry noted that it was an exciting and innovative initiative which saw both private and public entities joining hands to bring more attention to an industry that contributes significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing, Emile McGarrell, the event will also serve to bring together construction companies, suppliers, and house lot and home owners, among others, at a forum that is designed to bring better understanding.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Ramesh Dookhoo, noted that many of the exhibitors have persevered and grown. The expo would only serve to highlight the value of every player within the industry, he stressed.
Last year, figures have shown an explosion in the real estate of Guyana. The construction sector is significantly contributing 11% to the GDP and this is expected to grow even more this year.
The official noted that the country produces many quality products, with its white, quartz sand and stone being very attractive to the construction industry, both locally and internationally.
However, he warned, with the growth of the housing sector, there is an urgent need to ensure that zoning and other regulations are adhered to.
He also urged the construction companies to band together and possibly establish an organisation that will police itself to improve standards.
According to Minister of Housing, Irfaan Ali, Guyana is moving in the right direction with talks ongoing to even have banks establish offices at his Ministry. And these are prime examples of how government is moving to encourage more private/public partnerships.
He urged for local industries, especially those within the construction sector, to continue to eye the international market.
The Minister lamented the fact that not many companies are seeing the importance of investing in Research and Development and as a result fail to truly penetrate in a more forceful way in overseas market.
He also urged for a sense of patriotism and for Guyanese to buy local, and alluded to the high quality of local hardwood doors against the seemingly weaker imported pine doors which are sold for basically the same price.
Ali also announced government’s plan to develop a boardwalk on the seawall; a boardwalk behind the Stabroek Market and a total development of the entire market area.
The government official also announced that as part of a partnership, TCL Cement will be granting a 20% discount to low income house lot owners who are now building.
The expo, held under the theme “Building Businesses and Communities”, and which was launched with a fireworks display by the Chinese Embassy, will continue today and conclude tomorrow.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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